LeBron on the MVP award: 'I'd vote for me'

Colton Jones

When it comes to the Most Valuable Player award for the 2018 season, LeBron James has one person in mind.

Himself.

Even though James Harden of the Houston Rockets appears to the the runaway favorite to win the award for the first time, James believes he's worthy of winning the honor for a fifth time.

"I would vote for me," the Cleveland Cavaliers star told The Associated Press. "The body of work, how I'm doing it, what's been happening with our team all year long, how we've got so many injuries and things of that nature, guys in and out, to be able to still keep this thing afloat, I definitely would vote me."

Harden has led Houston to the best record in the NBA, reigning MVP Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans are all having tremendous seasons.

James, though, is doing the same.

He's averaging 27.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game, while shooting 55 percent from the field in 37 minutes.

During a five-season run between 2008-09 and 2012-13, while playing for the Cavaliers and the Miami Heat, James won the MVP award four times in a five-season span.

During that run, he averaged 27.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.3 assists, shooting 52 percent in 38 minutes a game.

Former Heat and Cavaliers teammate Dwyane Wade, now having returned to Miami where he and James won a pair of NBA titles in 2012 and 2013, said James is rewriting history on a nightly basis.

"He's continued to prove everybody wrong and find new levels," Wade said. "In his 15th season, to be 33 years of age and to be playing the way he's playing, as consistent as he's playing, that is as impressive as anything that anybody has ever done."

Averaging 27-8-9 in a season has not happened often in NBA history.

Oscar Robertson did so for five consecutive seasons (1960-61 through 1964-65, winning his only MVP award in the 1963-64 campaign) and no other player reached that level numbers-wise until last season, when Westbrook and Harden both did so.

However, Robertson, Harden and Westbrook were all in their 20s when they put up those gaudy numbers. James, as Wade pointed out, is 33.

"At this point in my career, I'm just trying to break the mold, break the narrative of guys in their 15th year ... I'm trying to do things that have never been done before," James said. "It's crazy because I'm not setting out to do it. It's just kind of happening organically. I'm just training my body and training my mind and going out and playing and seeing what happens."

This has been a trying season for the Cavaliers. All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving requested and was granted a trade on Aug. 22. At 44-20, they hold a half-game lead on Philadelphia and Indiana for the third spot in the Eastern Conference standings, have had 21 players on their roster, used 24 different starting lineups and have had as many as five rotation players out of the lineup at one time. In addition, coach Tyronn Lue remains away from the team as he deals with some health issues.

Through it all, though, James is on track to do something he's never done in his now-15 season NBA career -- play in all 82 regular-season games.

"I've said it," James said. "Obviously, I've had some unbelievable seasons before, but I've said it -- this is the best I can go, just from a complete basketball player standpoint."

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